Web Scraper Firefox | Extension Which Extracts Data From Dynamic Websites

Mozilla Firefox, an old but reliable web browser, supports several extensions. One of the popular extensions this browser supports is web scrapers. There are several options to choose from, but we shall discuss the best ones.

Web scraper firefox uses bots alias web crawlers to extract data from websites. They do so by following URL links of queries. They then extract data from the websites if the given URL link has the intended data.

You can use the web scraper Firefox to extract a range of data, including product details, prices, email addresses, images, geographical data, videos, etc., from a particular site.

Below, we have discussed the best web scraper, Firefox. Read through to learn more.

What Is the Best Web Scraper Firefox?

The best Firefox web scrapers are:

  • Web scraper
  • Rajkot
  • Puppeteer
Firefox logo

Web Scraper

Web Scraper is a Firefox free extension scraper. You can use this extension to extract data from dynamic websites. It has a modular selector engine that lets you customize how the tool scrapes websites. However, you can also integrate other selectors to make the scraper flexible when scraping different sites.

This web scraping tool allows you to set up sitemaps that dictate the type of data you scrape from websites. The sitemap also determines the best approach to extracting data from different sites. Lastly, it supports the CSV data file format.

Key Features

Web Scraper has the following features.

  • It has different navigation levels when scraping data.
  • It can scrape varied types of data at the same time.
  • This scraper can collect data from Ajax and JavaScript pages from dynamic sites.
  • It allows you to browse the extracted data. Also, you can store them locally in a CSV data file format.
  • It has a modular selector system that lets you create sitemaps for data collection from varied-structured sites.

Besides the modular selector engines creating sitemaps, it also has the following list of functions.

  • Browse sites using link selectors to extract data.
  • Extracting different types of data using the element selectors.
  • Extracting data from websites using element Attribute and Image elements.

Rajkot

Rajkot is a firefox web scraping extension that lets you scrape data from tables on websites. It then organizes the scraped data into a single file for local storage. It utilizes the jquery selector for import and export feature customization. To use Rajkot, you'll need to grant it permission to:

  • Permission for websites' data access
  • Permission for browser tabs access

Puppeteer

Puppeteer is a robust web scraping tool for Firefox. Follow the guide below to scrape data from websites using the Puppeteer scraper.

  1. You need to set off by installing prerequisites. Begin by creating a new folder.
  2. Set up a new Node project.
  3. Install npm. You can skip the prompt question by clicking the Enter key.
  4. Proceed to install Puppeteer. You can install it using npm.
  5. Start building a scraper by creating a new file; name it scraper.js.
  6. Import the Puppeteer library you had created earlier.
  7. Launch a new browser instance on the Puppeteer library.
  8. Turn off the headless mode to increase performance and allow for script debugging at a later stage.
  9. Launch a new page and paste your search URL on the browser instance.
  10. Set up the website's state to make the data for scraping visible.
  11. Select your category, then click on the learning tab once it generates all topics.
  12. Select the submit icon to extract the intended data set.
  13. You can then convert the data output into JavaScript.

Do Web Scraper Firefox Have Limitations?

Yes, web scraper firefox has several limitations. Some of the limitations include frequent site blockages and storage issues.

How Storage Capacity Limits Web Scraper Firefox

Scraping several websites will result in a significant data volume build-up. This feature means you'll need a large storage capacity to accommodate these data files. If you face a data storage issue, you can consider Cloud-based storage or Relational Database Services for data storage provision. Alternatively, you can opt for Amazon Web services to address your data storage issues.

Anti-scraping Technologies and Web Scraper Firefox

The web scraper firefox may experience frequent site blockages, especially if they lack proxies. Several websites use anti-scraping technologies to secure their data from scraping activities. This feature denies access to their data, meaning you won't extract data from these sites. They do so by blocking the IP address and sending multiple search requests simultaneously. To address this issue, you can use a rotating proxy. This proxy alternates your IP address to replicate regular web traffic, making you browse and extract data without being noticed.

Firefox logo icon and a woman with a laptop

What About Firefox Add-Ons?

An alternative to web scraper firefox is Firefox add-ons. For instance, you can use Firefox add-ons like Firebug, XPather, Xpath checker, Fire Cookie, and Tamper Data to extract data from multiple pages. Let's discuss them in detail.

Firebug

Firebug is more than a web scraper. You can also use this firefox add-on when performing web developing tasks. It has features like Inspect Element that creates XPaths for data extraction. Using this data scraping tool allows you to store and access data in HTML format. It displays the HTML code of both pages when hovering over them.

XPather

XPather is a firefox add-on that lets you scrape data from websites seamlessly. What's impressive about this tool is that it enables you to test XPath expressions while still browsing the same page.

XPath Checker

XPath Checker, a robust Firefox add-on, allows you to test your XPaths. You can test these XPaths on individual pages you create.

Tamper Data

When dealing with HTTP requests, Tamper Data is all you need. This tool lets you view the HTTP request the firefox browser sends in. It also allows you to modify these requests. Besides, you can also view HTTP headers using this tool. However, you cant modify the headers.

Firecookie

You can use the Firecookie add-on to view cookies on websites. You can also use it to create, manage, and delete cookies.

a person typing on laptop

How to Prepare Firefox Scraper for Advanced Scraping

You can perform the following function to prepare the firefox scraper for advanced scraping.

Create a User-Agent

Setting a User-Agent allows you to scrape more advance and purpose-specific tasks. You may be blocked from scraping websites if your user agent has a Headless string. You, therefore, need to set up a user agent.

Using a Proxy

Proxies are very useful when it comes to web scraping. It is no different in web scraper firefox. The tool needs proxies to avoid you getting blocked by websites using anti-scraping technologies. The proxy rotates the IP address of your request, replicating regular web traffic, making you scrape data anonymously without getting noticed.

There are several proxy services you can choose from. Free proxies are also available, though the paid ones have more features that make the scraping process seamless and efficient.

Error and Retry-Management Strategies

Your scraper may fail due to several errors. You, therefore, need to come up with a strategy that allows you to handle and decide on what the tool should do in case of an error. Your connection will be unstable when you connect to a free proxy; therefore, you need to customize the number of retries the tool should implement in case of an error. For instance, you can configure it to try five times if it experiences an error. If the first one fails, you may need to use a different IP address. Therefore, a rotating proxy should be the way to go.

What to Do When Working With Firefox Add-Ons

Firefox add-ons operate differently from the way extensions operate. It shows a modified HTML version rather than the original one. You'll notice this feature when inspecting your pages with firefox add-ons enabled.

Firefox usually adds <body features to data tables. Therefore, using Firefox and Xpath will need you to customize some settings because Scrapy can't extract data from <tbody tables. Among the factors you should consider are:

  • When using Scrapy, disable Firefox Javascript. You should do this function when inspecting the DOM for XPaths.
  • Do not implement <tbody> elements when working with XPath expressions. You should only do so if you are sure of what you're working with.
  • Strictly use relative XPaths rather than full XPaths. You should use the XPaths based on class, id, or width.

Conclusion

Web scraper firefox is essential in scraping dynamic websites. While firefox extensions are the ideal and most common tools for scraping data from web pages, the Mozilla firefox add-ons have also proven effective on many occasions. However, you need not forget that for more advanced scraping activities, which may result in you getting blocked by anti-scraping websites, you need to implement proxies. The User-agent has also proven effective when it comes to advance scraping.

About Dusan Stanar

I'm the founder of VSS Monitoring. I have been both writing and working in technology in a number of roles for dozens of years and wanted to bring my experience online to make it publicly available. Visit https://www.vssmonitoring.com/about-us/ to read more about myself and the rest of the team.

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